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Italian taxi drivers announce new day of strikes over Uber benefits

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Italian taxi drivers announce new day of strikes over Uber benefits
File photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
11:27 CET+01:00
Following a six-day strike last month which led to disruption across the country, Italy's taxi drivers have announced an official nationwide strike in protest over perceived perks for Uber and over unofficial car-hire services.

It's scheduled for March 23rd, between 8am and 10pm, though taxis will still be available to transport the elderly, disabled and invalids during this time.

The previous strike - an unofficial set of protests, which saw clashes between drivers and police, and threats against drivers who continued to work - was called off after six days.  

Union representatives were able to reach an interim deal with the government after hours of negotiation over a law on competition, which is currently being debated in the Senate. However, several of the most prominent unions are unhappy with the slow pace of developments.

"Once again, we have been humiliated," said the participating unions in a joint statement on Monday. "The government isn't in a position to give any kind of response to simple questions, hiding behind the sovereignty of parliament."

The row is over the government's decision to suspend the introduction of norms to control car-hire and car-share services.

Drivers say the current rules benefit ride-hailing service Uber or NCCs - cars rented with a driver - because unlike taxis they can purchase licenses in smaller towns, where they cost less, but use them to work in cities.

Taxi drivers are also furious that they have to work under fixed tariffs while Uber and the NCCs can charge as much as they like.

On Monday, Uber Italia head Carlo Tursi had invited taxi unionists to a 'closed-doors meeting' in order to discuss ways for the car-hire service to work alongside Italy's traditional white cabs.

But unions appeared to reject the olive branch, with the Uri (Unione Radiotaxi Italia) saying: "Sitting at a table with Uber would legitimize a company that operates outside the rules."

READ MORE: Traffic chaos and violence as taxi strike enters sixth day

Traffic chaos and violence as Italian taxi protest rumbles on

Protesters clashed with police outside the Democratic Party headquarters in late February. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

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